"Katzav is not lily-white but he certainly did not do anything that constitutes a criminal offense," said a woman who worked in the President's Bureau when Moshe Katzav was president. She spoke on Tuesday to Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language service. The former employee, a woman, chose to be identified by the initial "D."
Katzav was Blackmailed and Bullied, Says Former Employee
Woman who worked in former president's bureau explains what she thinks really led to his conviction. Dissenting judge decries 'kangaroo court.'
Gil Ronen, 22/03/11 14:30 | updated: 14:59
Katzav before hearing sentence, 22.3.11.
Israel news photo: Flash 90
"It was clear to all the women who worked in the bureau that the relationship between Katzav and the complainant was based on full consent," D. said. "Katzav was not a rapist and there was no rape."
D. said the trial was, in essence, a lie and a sham. "Katzav was hard-pressed to prove his innocence, with the heavy pressure and incitement against him in the press, and many of the women's organizations that acted against him in every possible media."
"Many women work in the various offices and take advantage of their status as long as they profit from it," D. explained. "Once they start making exaggerated demands, it is only a short step to blackmail. That is what happened with Katzav. Katzav did not act properly, morally speaking, but certainly did not carry out a criminal offense."
Judge Yehudit Shevach wrote the dissenting opinion in the sentence handed down by the three-judge panel that tried Katzav. She determined that Katzav should have received a lighter jail sentence - four years instead of the seven meted out by her colleagues - but a higher fine. She protested that Katzav had been robbed of the right to a presumption of innocence by "a long, protracted and consistent process of being judged by the public and convicted before his trial. This process manifested itself, among other things, in protests held in the city square, in gatherings in front of the court, in the waving of signs with demeaning content, in libelous talkbacks, and much more, all long before the court had its say."
Judge Shevach accused Menachem Mazuz, who was Attorney General until earlier this year, of making very poorly-judged statements about the case. She quoted him as saying in a television interview that Katzav was a "serial" sex offender even before he decided to press charges against the former president.
"The kangaroo court to which the public subjected the defendant," she wrote, "is also a direct result of the instant-trial held by the press, simultaneously with the trial held in the courtroom..." In this journalistic "trial," she said, "his verdict was handed down long before the court did so, and all of this was done with the aid of massive and unprecedented biased leaks, which no one has had to answer for."